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'Bottom Up's' Still Babel's Call

Os Guinness

“Where modernism was a manifesto of human self-confidence and self-congratulation, postmodernism is a confession of modesty, if not despair. There is no truth, only truths. There are no principles, only preferences. There is no grand reason, only reasons. There is no privileged civilization, only a multiple of cultures, beliefs, periods, and styles. There is no grand narrative of human progress, only countless stories of where people and their cultures are now. There is no simple reality or any grand objectivity of universal, detached knowledge, only a ceaseless representation of everything in terms of everything else. In sum, an extreme form of relativism.”
—Os Guinness

One of the most glaring propositions of postmodernism is the presumptive declaration that truth[s] is [are] “socially constructed”. That is, “truth” is, was, and always has been a “bottom up” endeavor, a man-created notion that is, ultimately, unsubstantiated… essentially and existentially without substance.

Truth, we are told is a variable notion without foundation. It meanders and flows like a stream.

Another one of postmodernism’s proud pronouncements is that, words themselves are incapable of conveying true meaning at all. Meaning itself is simply a culturally derived “social construct”. Consequently, both “truth” AND “meaning” have been judged, sentenced, and placed in postmodernism’s dock having been found illusory….irrational and ungraspable vapors.

And then, in a smug, self-refuting coup de grace of condescension , post-modernist scholars proclaim that not only does their “paradigm” have meaning and that their words carry weight, they proudly declare that their final analysis is irrefutably true.

Today the philosophical toxic fumes of postmodernist “logic” have seeped into every aspect of the culture (science, education, social sciences, politics, etc.). Sadly, the professing church has not been immune….

One prominent spokesperson for the now fashionable “Emergent Church” movement clarifies:

“The slipperiness of meaning, the impossibility of objectivity, the incommensurability* of truth claims — these themes of postmodernism appealed to me and gave my faith room to grow.”

The question is.... "Faith in what?" And "Room to grow where, exactly?"

'Bottom Up's' Still Babel's Call

Words don’t mean now what they used to,
Even “meaning” isn’t clear!
And when “meaning” has no meaning…
Mass confusion’s near, my dear.

Hey! C’mon!...Let’s be objective!
Oh, wait, sorry…Never mind.
Objectivity’s been outlawed….
Truth’s not something to define.

We feel truth may sometimes “happen”,
(Well, at least, that’s how it seems.)
Truth we feel has no real meaning…,
Truth’s more like a dreamy scheme.

BUT, don’t panic!…That’s a GOOD thing!
Claims of “Truth” confine us so!
Knowing truth is like a prison1
“No truth” means our faith can grow!

And so, by demeaning “meaning”,
“Truth” is anybody’s guess…
On this Slope of Utter Chaos
Things are slippery….at best.

If “truth” is, it’s man-constructed…
”Bottom up!”'s still Babel’s call!
We know now one thing for certain:
There’s no “Sin”, no “Fall” at all!

We know Truth can’t be discovered2
“Truth”, you see, is not a “thing”3,
No one, son, can really grasp it,
So, we KNOW it can’t be “king”4!

Just accept it, man,…Embrace it!
Vague conjecture’s now The Norm.
It’s The Pref’rence that we lean toward….
(It’s the calm before the storm.)

Objectivity’s a “has been”....
That’s the REAL truth flooding by!
That’s the feeling we’re revealing,
PoMo/Process Verified!

Hallelujah! Liberation!
There’s no Rock5 of Reason, friend.
There’s no Anchor6, only “process”,
No fixed “gospel” to defend7.

We’re enamored now by “progress”,
“Truth-Evolving” does appeal!
It’s more “comfy”…AND more “current”,
Than Truth once to saints revealed8.

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
—John 3:19-21

Lord, we’d rather hide in darkness…
Than admit in sin we’re lost.
Yes, we’d rather shut the Light out,
Than surrender at the Cross.

1 John 8:32

2 John 18:30

3 John 14:6

4 Revelation 19: 15-16

5 Psalm 62: 1-2

6 Hebrews 6: 17-19

7 Jude 3-4

8 Jude 3-4

*incommensurable: not able to be judged by the same standard as something; having no common standard of measurement.